Select a State:

State of Arizona

Methods of Judicial Selection: Arizona

Retention Evaluation Programs

Arizona is the only state with a constitutionally authorized judicial performance evaluation program. Proposition 109, which was approved by the voters in 1992, required the establishment of a process to review judges' performance. Judicial performance review has two purposes: to provide the public with information about judges who are standing for retention and to encourage judicial self-evaluation and improvement. Judges are evaluated pre-election and mid-term.

The commission on judicial performance review consists of no more than thirty-four members. Commission members are appointed by the supreme court and include lawyers, judges, and members of the public. No more than six members may be lawyers, and no more than six members may be judges. The commission surveys those who have come into contact with judges, including litigants, witnesses, jurors, court staff, attorneys, and other judges. A public input survey is also available. Judges are evaluated on such criteria as legal ability, integrity, judicial temperament, communication skills, and administrative performance. Based on survey information, commission members vote on whether a judge "meets" or "does not meet" judicial performance standards. Judges also complete self-evaluation surveys and meet with conference teams composed of a judge, an attorney, and a member of the public to discuss their performance review. The results of pre-election performance reviews are mailed to voters and made available at public centers such as libraries, banks, and grocery stores. Click here to view the 2010 performance evaluation results. Mid-term performance reviews are confidential. Click here to view the commission's rules of procedure. 

For more information about Arizona's judicial performance evaluation program, see Judicial Selection Reform: Examples from Six States and Judicial Retention Evaluation Programs in Four States.